Oshie honed his shootout skills as an elite high school talent in Warroad. His grandfather, Buster Oshie, helped Warroad to the 1948 state hockey tournament, but much of the Oshie family moved to Everett, Wash., in the early 1960s after a tragic house fire badly injured Buster and claimed the life of his sister.
T.J. was born in Washington but moved to Warroad as a teenager at the urging of his second cousin, Minnesota hockey legend Henry Boucha.
“I call him Uncle Henry,” Oshie said. Boucha proudly points out their great-great-great grandfathers were brothers who grew up with an Ojibwe band in Buffalo Point, Manitoba, which is six miles from Warroad by water on Lake of the Woods.
Boucha led Warroad to a state hockey tournament, played on the 1972 Olympic team that won a silver medal and was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 1995.
“I remember we went out there and visited his house when I was 10 years old and that’s when I started falling in love with Warroad,” Oshie said.
Boucha worked at hockey schools in Everett run by Oshie’s father, Tim, and said he could tell T.J. had special talent when was only 5 years old.
“He could already see the ice, he was an exceptional skater and he just loved the game,” Boucha said Tuesday from Warroad. “I talked to Tim and said, ‘You should move back. Here in Warroad, we got free ice time, you can skate all you want, everyone has a rink, you can skate on the river.’ He could play hockey all day.”
In terms of Oshie’s development, Boucha said he will only take credit for helping the family relocate in 2002 to Warroad, which offered a rich hockey history. He said Oshie made himself a great player “by being a rink rat.”
But even Boucha marveled at Oshie’s performance in that shootout.
“I would have been a nervous wreck,” Boucha said. “I couldn’t have done it. It was his moment, his time. He didn’t look nervous out there at all.”
Staff writer Chris Miller contributed to this report.